Good news: Feds pulling workers away from FAA to staff exploding Cash for Clunkers bureaucracy

Move along. No cautionary tales to see here.

Employees of the FAA’s air-traffic-control unit were asked to help, but the Transportation Department stressed Friday that essential safety personnel were not diverted from their duties.

A total of 1,200 workers, including about 300 contractors from Citigroup, the financial services giant, are now working seven days a week to review applications and reimburse auto dealers for rebates advanced to customers, officials said.

The department tripled its program staff to 1,100 last week, and recently added another 100 headquarters employees…

The National Automobile Dealers Association, which had endorsed the move, urged the Obama administration late Friday to extend the deadline because the program’s Web site was crashing.

Percentage of dealer claims that had been reimbursed by the feds as of Thursday: Seven. How bad does a program have to be to goose sales as much as C4C has and still be badmouthed by the industry? This bad, I guess:

Laura Sodano, a sales manager at Curry Chevrolet in Scarsdale, N.Y., said dealers were not told why their applications had not been approved and were having to review the entire form to determine what went wrong.

“I don’t know one dealership that’s gotten paid yet,” Ms. Sodano said. “If they run out, we’re in trouble. It’s bringing us a lot of traffic, but it’s not a very good program.”…

If the funding is exhausted before all reimbursements are made, some dealers — and possibly G.M. — could end up having to write off the unpaid credits.

There’s actually a serious risk here that the feds are going to mismanage a simple car-rebate program into bankruptcy. Oh, and more good news: Confirming earlier suspicions, it’s foreign carmakers that are getting the lion’s share of the sales. Exit question: Which is more frightening as an omen for ObamaCare’s future problems? Yesterday’s $2 trillion upwards budget revision or this wheezing canary in the coal mine?